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Category Archives: baking

Two great tastes that taste great together….

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Rhubarb by itself is pretty bitter, and thus we owe a debt of gratitude to the first person who thought to pair it with strawberries.

I am a huge fan of strawberry rhubarb pie. It’s simple, no frills, comfort food.

My kind neighbor dropped off a large bunch off rhubarb by my door and I knew that it was time to make a pie. The first thing I did was search for top-rated recipes and then scan them to see which had the simplest ingredients. I also did not want to add corn starch…it’s just a personal preference…

The recipe that I made came from the wonderful blog Smitten Kitchen.If you haven’t visited this site before, stop what you are doing and head over there for a while…I’ll wait…

Ok, now that you are back, let’s talk pie. I followed the filling recipe to the letter, but I cheated and used a pre-made pillsbury pie crust. I’m sure that her pie crust recipe would have been fabulous, but I was in a hurry…

This was the recipe that I used and I was very happy with the results.

Look how basic the ingredients are

Mix everything in a bowl, make sure that the tapioca in well blended in.

It all fits into the pie plate and is ready for the oven.

A lattice crust makes it extra-home made!

The whole pie took minutes to assemble, and when paired with organic, vanilla ice cream, it was gone in minutes!

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Start your morning with Sour Cream, Cinnamon streusel Coffee Cake

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Who doesn’t like a cinnamon coffee cake? If you don’t care for coffee cake, I will have to reconsider our friendship…Yes, I know it’s full of carbs and blah, blah, blah….This cake is totally worth an extra mile on the treadmill.

Coffee cake is the most overlooked and under-rated cakes. Since it’s never made with coffee, the name must come from the fact that a cup of coffee, when paired with a slice of the cake is a satisfying, albeit decadent, way to start your morning.

This evening I noticed that we had sour cream in the fridge which was about to expire, and I had a hankering for something sweet. Thanks to Google, I discovered this recipe from taste of Home. It’s super-easy and the ingredients are very basic. The only change I made was baking it in a 8″x8″ pan which made for a thicker slice.

The cake itself is moist with a streusel layer and is great when eaten warm. Bake it in the evening, and heat up a slice in the morning… you’ll be glad you did.

Zucchini Bread 101

Yes, it’s that time of year when you lock your car so that no one can drop off their daily harvest of the dreaded green tubes on your passenger seat…If all vegetables were as prolific as the under appreciated zucchini, we could feed the world from home gardens alone!

So what to do with these squash that have gotten too big to eat in their native state? Shred it of course!
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Shred on a box grater and freeze in 2+ cup portions in zip top quart size freezer bags. This way you can make zucchini bread all winter. Right now everyone is making it and you’re as sick of the bread as you are of the squash, but come winter, you’ll thank me!

Here’s my favorite recipe courtesy of all recipes.com

Of course I tweaked it by elimating the walnuts(ew!) and replaced 1/4 cup of oil with applesauce. You’ll really like it as the original, or with the tweaks (I promise)…

This recipe freezes well, too.

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Mom’s Zucchini Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

3 tsp ground cinnamon

3 large eggs

1 cup vegetable oil (or 3/4 cup vegetable oil plus 1/4 cup applesauce)

2 1/4 cup white sugar

3 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts (if you must)

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Grease and flour (or use baking spray) two 8×4 loaf pans. Or one 8×4 and 2 mini pans. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F, or 165 degrees C (for our metric readers)
  2. Sift flour, salt,baking powder,baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted mix and beat until well combined. Stir in zucchini and nuts.
  4. Pour into the pans
  5. Bake for 40 min and check with a toothpick, then bake for 10 minutes more and check again, if it’s not finished yet, bake for 5 more minutes and repeat until done. (The reason you can’t get exact time for baking is because the moisture level of the zucchini is unpredictable.)
  6. Let cool 5 minutes and slide a butter knife around between the pan and loaf to loosen. Remove loafs from pans onto cooling racks.

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Check with the trusty toothpick/skewer…

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Oh yeah! Tastes great warm, too!

Are you a corner or center?

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Brownie Perfection

I’m not asking where you line-up in football formation.

This is an all-important question about brownies.

Last night a friend brought a wonderful batch of brownies to dinner and I took a corner piece and she look incredulous and said “you actually like the corner?” She said she preferred the center of the brownie pan, to which I say NAY! The center is always to rich and gooey for me, much the reason why I don’t like fudge. It’s just too much of everything.

I do like fudgey brownies with a bit of crunch on the top and on the edges. It’s the best of both worlds.

I googled the subject and came across this funny discussion on reddit.com

There’s also the Brownie Corner Pan, something that is sheer brilliance!

Brownie corner pan

I hadn’t realized that there were people who disliked the crunchy/chewy sensation of a good corner of the brownie pan, but they are out there. So as always, I say we can all get along and this just leaves more for me!

King Cake…there’s a baby in there somewhere…

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Mardi Gras was 2 weeks ago, I know, but I love a good King Cake anytime. And I love anything that reminds my of New Orleans.

This morning instead of having my protein shake, I cut into the King Cake that I won at a silent auction and look what I found!

baby in the cake

The tiny baby. On the first slice! So, I guess this means a year of good luck..maybe…? (If I had chocked on it, maybe it would bode as bad luck?)

I could do without the beads on the cake, but that’s a minor complaint.

The history and name of King Cake goes back to Epiphany and the 3 Kings. It is made with a brioche type dough and covered in a white glaze with mardi gras colored sprinkles.  My cake had a bit of cream cheese filling and some are more butter and cinnamon filled. For more history here’s a link to Wilipedia’s post.

It’s a tradition that should move into Christmas, instead of fruitcake.

Here’s a place to buy one online at kingcakes.com

If you’d like to bake one yourself, you can’t go wrong with Southern Living’s recipe.

Southern Living King Cake

 

Do you have a favorite King Cake recipe or place to buy one? Let me know.

Warm Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies on a Cold Night

oatmeal choco chips

Mmmmm, soft and chewy and warm from the oven. These cookies have filled the house with their sweet smell and now are perfect with a glass of cold milk.

I had extra oatmeal left over from the baked oatmeal last week, so whipped up these by experimenting with different amounts of flour and sugar, plus only using a small amount of chocolate chips. I know that sounds odd, but too much chocolate overpowers the oatmeal. Look closely, you won’t see lots of chips. If you want chocolate chip cookies, make those… these are soft oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips. I assure you, they do not disappoint. Also, the cinnamon is hard to detect, but it adds a depth to the flavor. Next I might try these with butterscotch chips…

Oatmeal Milk Chocolate Chippers

YIELD: about 3 dozen 2” cookies  PREP: 25 minutes  COOK: 11 minutes

INGREDIENTS:

1 large egg

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick) softened

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup milk chocolate chips (I used Ghiardelli)

DIRECTIONS:

Add together in the bowl of a stand mixer: egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined for 2 minutes. Scrape down the bowl and beat on medium high for another minute.

oatmeal wet ingredients

Combine the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt and chocolate chips in a small bowl.

Oatmeal dry ingredients

Add oat mixture to butter mix and beat until combined. Don’t over-beat.

Line cookie sheets with parchment paper and use a small cookie scoop to scoop and drop the dough 2” apart on the sheet. You can fir 12 scoops to a sheet.

Chill sheet for 10 minutes in the refrigerator.*

Bake at 350 for 11 minutes. Let cool on sheet for 2 minutes and move cookies to cooling rack.

Let cool and store in an airtight container.

*If you only want to make half a batch, wrap the rest of the dough on plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Any longer and it should be frozen.

oatmeal on cookie sheet

oatmeal choco chippers

 Look closely and you’ll see the chips, just not too many…

Baked Oatmeal is perfect for a snowy morning.

baked oatmeal

When it’s cold, a warm breakfast is just what you need to start the day, and if it’s make-ahead, even better.

Baked Oatmeal is 1.easy 2.cheap 3.delicious. It’s more of a cake, than regular oatmeal, it’s not much to look at, but it’s very satisfying and perfect for a pre-skiing breakfast.

You have all of the ingredients in your pantry and refrigerator. Try adding different fruits, dried berries, or nuts to make it your own recipe. I added frozen raspberries since we still have lots from last summer. Next time I’ll use the frozen huckleberries, and another time I’ll add coconut…

Oh, and it’s gluten-free, too!

Here’s the recipe. Let me know what you think and how you revised it to make it yours…

Ingredients:

1/2 cup applesauce

3/4 sugar

2 eggs

1 cup milk (I used 2%, but any kind is fine)

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 cups old fashioned oats

1 cup frozen raspberries

topping:

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

Directions:

1.Grease a 8″x8″ or 9″x9″ metal pan

2. Mix first 8 ingredients together. Pour into greased pan.

3. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top.

4. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

5. In the morning, remove pan from refrigerator and preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan in oven and bake for 35 minutes.

6. Spoon into bowls and serve with warm milk. Enjoy!

Serves 6-8.